News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

A place to grow: CMU's community garden

CMU junior Grace Buchholz, one of the first gardeners at the reestablished garden, works on her plants. Courtesy photo from Central Sustainability.
CMU junior Grace Buchholz, one of the first gardeners at the reestablished garden, works on her plants. Courtesy photo from Central Sustainability.

"Central Sustainability" has revived a community garden on Central Michigan University’s campus after numerous requests from students.

Previously, the RSO Campus Grow ran the program, but after COVID-19 hit in 2020, the garden and RSO came to an end.

This summer there are limited plots available to everyone for free, meaning students, faculty, staff and community members may utilize this space to grow vegetables, herbs and plants.

Out of the six plots, five of them have already been taken. However, in the fall, there will be an expansion as well as a small fee to fund the program. Currently, the garden is operating on a volunteer basis.

Sustainability Coordinator Ava Brewer said the conversation began last semester to jumpstart the garden. Central Sustainability worked with facilities management to till the plots and provide a water system on site.

The garden is located off Lot 70 by the baseball stadium.

“I think it's a great opportunity for the campus to collaborate with community and students to collaborate with faculty,” Brewer said. “It's really just something that's supposed to bring everyone together through sustainability, the environment and [to] learning something new.

“Because probably a lot of these students that are getting involved have maybe not gardened before. Maybe they're trying a new hobby that’s brand new to them.”

Brewer said Central Sustainability will be passing on the community garden to the rebooted RSO, Campus Grows, in the fall.

“We're hoping that by restarting the RSO in the fall, it'll become more of a sustainable organization with younger students involved,” she said. “And we're hoping that it'll be a great experience for people, and they'll want to continue doing it.”

Thinking ahead to the winter, Brewer said students are less likely to return to RSO’s in the spring, however with the growing interest of a community garden, she hopes students will break that stigma.

Everyone that was originally involved in the campus gardening group has graduated, Brewer said. So, it was up to Central Sustainability to bring it back.

Brewer said it has definitely been a group effort, but students Lauren Dye and Tiffany Jurge took the initiative to make this happen.

With the efforts made by students in Central Sustainability, CMU will be able to officially welcome returning students, faculty and community members in the fall with its campus garden.

“I think gardening is a great way to get in touch with the world and the environment around you,” Brewer said. “It's a great way to meet new people with this RSO in the fall and I think it's something everyone should give a try because I think it'd be a lot of fun for a lot of students involved.”

For any questions regarding plot availability, advice for gardening or general information contact Central Sustainability at